A workshop under Initiative of CUTS

September 16, 2005, Sobuj Sona

A State-level workshop on globalisation, economic reforms and World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues was organised by the collective effort of Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) and Durgapur Indira Pragati Society at Burdwan, on September 12, 2005. The workshop was inaugurated by Uday Shankar Sarkar, Sabhadhipati, Zilla Parisad, Burdwan. While addressing the audience, Sarkar told that economic reforms are inevitable but we have to be conscious about the welfare implications of these reforms.

In this context, he welcomed the civil society organisations (CSOs) to join hands with the Government and spread awareness at the grassroots-level.

Representatives from more than 60 state-based CSOs participated in the workshop. The workshop was held as part of the Project ‘Grassroots Reachout & Networking in India on Trade & Economics’ (GRANITE) presently undertaken by CUTS in eight states of India with the assistance from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and Novib (Oxfam, The Netherlands).

The focal points of the project are agriculture and textiles & clothing (T&C). CUTS has already conducted a perception analysis of the stakeholders of these sectors. It was highlighted that although a large section of population, especially those who are below poverty line, would be effected by the present trends of globalisation and WTO agreements, yet majority do not have the slightest hint and are not equipped to explore the new challenges and opportunities.

Among the distinguished guests, there were two Additional District Magistrates of Burdwan –. Debashis Bose and Ashis Chakraborty, C D Lama, Director, State Land Use Board and S Sarkar, Deputy Director, Handloom and Textile Department, Government of West Bengal. They appreciated the initiative of CUTS to aware the grassroots CSOs on these issues. Bipul Chatterjee of CUTS explained the possible impacts of WTO agreements on West Bengal’s economy.

Dalia Dey discussed the structure and functions of WTO, while Tathagata Lahiri explained the project details to the participants. Mita Dutta, CUTS Calcutta Resource Centre (CUTS-CRC) briefed about the activities of the centre and Purnananda Roy from Durgapur Indira Pragati Society (DIPS) gave the welcome address.

The participants proactively took part in the group discussion. At the end of the workshop, there was a general consensus among the participants to put forward an organised effort on the GRANITE issues. The second recommendation was to make available the information related to the concerned issues in easy language at the grassroots-level. Above all, CUTS will take the initiative to influence the policy-makers at the central-level.